How To Find & Fix The 15 Most Common Trouble Codes on Your FACP

By Ziad Alezabi

March 5, 2024

Fire alarms are essential for the safety of human life and assets. They detect the presence of fire and smoke and alert the occupants to evacuate.

The unfortunate reality is that fire alarms are not immune to experiencing trouble codes. These trouble codes can confuse fire department staff members on what they mean, and how to deal with them.

You may be wondering "How can knowledge of fire alarm signals help in emergencies?"

Knowing what different signals mean on a fire alarm system is important in emergency situations. It allows individuals to decipher and decide the correct course of action they need to take.

When occupants know what each signal means, they can quickly respond to situations effectively whether it's a true emergency or a false alarm. This is the difference between life and death.

This knowledge will help individuals take the required steps to mitigate or avoid risks altogether.

In an emergency situation, the ability to interpret fire alarm signals makes a huge difference in ensuring a quick and organized response by emergency response units. This saves both lives and assets.

If you're a fire alarm monitoring staff member you may be asking yourself "What do different fire alarm panel signals mean?"
Primary Components of an FACP system

It is important to understand the different components of an FACP: Detection Devices, Control Panels, and Indicators/Alarm Devices

Different fire alarm panel signals serve different purposes and give you crucial information to keep lives and assets safe.

  1. Trouble signals: Indicate operation and/or maintenance issues that need to be addressed promptly but aren't an emergency.
  2. Alarm signals: Trigger when the system detects an emergency situation that demands immediate action. As opposed to a trouble or supervisory signal, this requires immediate attention because a real fire is most likely present.
  3. Supervisory signals: Alert you to any problems with devices connected to your fire alarm system. This ensures that all components function correctly to provide optimal protection.

Understanding different signals coming from your FACP (Fire Alarm Control Panel) is necessary for maintaining the system, staying prepared for emergencies, and ensuring the safety of occupants and assets.

Actions To Take For Different Trouble Signals On Your FACP

"So what actions should be taken when trouble signals are noted on an FACP?"

By familiarizing yourself with trouble signal codes, you can solve any problem as quickly as possible. This is crucial to resolve so that you are sure your buildings and premises are protected.

"What steps do I need to take if trouble signals occur after switching to VoIP?"

If trouble signals occur after switching to voice-over IP, contact a fire protection services provider to ensure system compatibility and address the issue promptly. If you have any issues I would be happy to guide you over the phone at 9736631011 or through email at

"What issues may be causing trouble signals on a fire alarm control panel?"

It is crucial to quickly address operational and maintenance errors being indicated by trouble signals on your FACP. The first step is to identify the troubles, and the second step is to take swift action.

Let's take a look at all the trouble alarms you need to understand to properly maintain your fire alarm system:

  1. "Device Missing" Trouble: A device on your fire alarm system is missing. This is caused by a malfunctioning device, incorrectly installing a device or human error. To fix this, investigate the "missing device" location. Ensure that it is repaired, replaced, and/or properly reinstalled as quickly as possible.

  2. "Maintenance Required" Trouble: The fire alarm system needs routine maintenance or inspection. It's important to follow manufacturer-scheduled maintenance. This is required to keep your system compliant with local fire codes and regulations.

  3. "Panel Trouble": There is a problem with the FACP itself. This may be due to a malfunctioning component, damaged wires, or a software issue.

  4. "Supervisory Trouble": There is an issue with the supervisory circuit of your fire alarm system. These circuits monitor other systems in buildings such as sprinklers and elevators, and detect issues such as low water pressure and elevator malfunctions.

  5. "AC Power Trouble": Something has been disrupted with the AC (Alternating Current) power supply. If you receive this, you are already running on your redundant power source.

  6. "Low Battery" or "Battery Trouble": The fire alarm's backup battery is low and needs replacement. This occurs because a battery is old or hasn't been replaced routinely. You must replace the battery as soon as possible.

  7. "Battery Charger Trouble": A problem has occurred with the system that charges your batteries from the AC power supply.

  8. "Earth Trouble": This indicates a ground fault in the system. A wire is most likely damaged and an electrical current is traveling through an unexpected pathway. Any area causing ground faults needs to be repaired for this trouble to be resolved.

  9. "Smoke Detector Trouble": There's an issue with one of your smoke detectors. This could be a low battery, damaged wire, or other physical damage.

  10. "IP Reporting Ethernet Trouble": The system is currently not able to report alarm/trouble/restore messages through Ethernet/LAN.

  11. "DACT Trouble": The DACT mediates information outputs between older FACPs and modern output protocols. If you are seeing this trouble, there is some alternate reporting path active.

  12. "Open Circuit" or "Open Loop" Trouble: There is a break in the circuit/loop of the fire alarm system. This occurs due to loose wiring, faulty devices, or damaged cables. This requires immediate attention because it means your fire alarm system is not functioning as it should.

  13. "Ground Fault" Trouble: There is an issue with the wiring of the fire alarm system. This typically occurs when the circuit's hot wire touches the ground wire or another conductive surface. This requires immediate attention as it causes the fire alarm system to malfunction or possibly cause a fire.

  14. "Sensor Fault" Trouble: There is a problem with your fire alarm sensors. It may be caused by a dirty/dusty sensor. You must investigate and clean or replace the sensors to make sure you are properly monitoring fires.

  15. "Communication Fault" Trouble: There is a problem with the communication between the fire alarm and your sensors, or other devices. This may be due to a faulty cable, communication module, or configuration error. This needs to be addressed quickly as it will cause your fire alarm system to malfunction and may cause a fire.

  16. Every "Trouble" message has a "Restore" counterpart. Instead of the word trouble, it ends the phrase with restore. (Example: Open Circuit Trouble vs. Open Circuit Restore)

    This signals to your proprietary monitoring station or central station that the trouble condition is resolved.

    Common Questions Clients & Distributors Ask

    "Why is it important to understand the differences between troubles, alarms, and supervisory signals?"

    Understanding the differences between trouble, alarm, and supervisory signals is important to maintain a safe and ready fire alarm system. It helps identify and address operational or maintenance issues.

    It also responds effectively to emergencies, and monitors connected devices and systems. This ensures the system's reliability and effectiveness in protecting lives and assets.

    "What visual & auditory indicators accompany supervisory signals on an FACP?"

    Supervisory signals on a fire alarm panel are often a yellow light and a fast beeping sound.

    Digitize Can Take The Guess Work Out Of Your Fire Alarm Trouble Codes

    Digitize is a fire alarm monitoring system manufacturer that has experts on hand to guide you through any questions you have, even if you aren't one of our distributors or clients.

    We believe in helping others to create a network of like-minded individuals who can help each other out.

    If you are having a problem with an "alarm trouble" but have insufficient support to fix it, please feel free to contact me and I can get you expert help to decipher and fix it promptly and get your fire alarm monitoring system back online.

    Even if we can't find a solution together, I will still do my best to help point you in the right direction.

    Call at 9736631011 or email at

    Ziad Alezabi

    Ziad Alezabi

    Ziad Alezabi is a seasoned marketing writer renowned for his expertise in crafting compelling content and strategic marketing communications. With a rich background in the industry, Ziad has contributed significantly to various projects, delivering engaging blog articles, impactful videos, and...Read More